July 6, 2009

Alexis Babini
Breaking It In

Fairfield, CT
Produced by Ed Valauskas | Recorded and
engineered by Rafi Sofer at Q Division Studios

Upon first listen, Breaking It In sounds like a nice enough, well-produced and polished EP from a talented young songwriter. But by the second time around, an underlying subtle complexity seeps into the listener and deceives with its seeming effortlessness. Think of James Taylor, or Peter Gabriel on “Solsbury Hill.” The successful marriage of melody and lyrics is what makes an audience listen to the importance of a song, and not to its constructs. This can never be underestimated when it comes to affecting music.

Such is what we find on Alexis Babini’s debut EP
Breaking It In. Powerful, gripping melodies and simple, yet evocative lyrics are pervasive. Babini also avoids a major pitfall for many songwriters: the dreaded second verse. This is evident on “Caroline,” where he lulls, “In your room my disguise falls to the floor/This man becomes a boy/A sense of innocence comes back/And it somehow brings me joy.” Combine this honesty with a tenor that whispers at one moment and soars the very next, and we find an artist who really owns his craft.

One item of potential criticism lies in the fact that all songs on
Breaking It In are romantically based. And while there is nothing wrong with an album of love-based tunes, diverse lyrical themes are essential to making an audience want to listen to you always, as opposed to just when “in the mood” (Jack Johnson is a great example). By the same token, though, so many artists press their whole careers trying to write just one great love song. On Breaking It In we have six. Not bad at all. (self-released)
-Michael Oliveri


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